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At times, you may feel overwhelmed and like you are drowning in your to-do lists. I have been there, and I have found that although there is never a way to truly do it all, there is a way to make things easier! The endless cycle of juggling all the things doesn’t have to be completely daunting. Here are some of my favorite and practical tips for keeping that work life balance in check. I hope you enjoy these tips and find them useful!
This may sound like a no-brainer, right? Getting and staying organized can really help when it comes to saving time and working efficiently. It is something we as teachers strive for in our classroom life. And if you are like most teachers we start off the year as organized pros. But sometimes it can slip away or get put on the back burner. Then we are left digging ourselves out of a hole. Been there, done that, right?
Start off by making sure your workspace is organized. Your desk is the hub of your classroom and where the magic happens, so make sure it is organized and stays that way. Every day make time to tidy up and put things where they need to go.
Having an organized classroom also helps. I loved labeling everything in the classroom. I labeled my desk organizers, cabinets, cubbyholes, centers, and more. Everything had a place and that made staying on top of organization easier for myself and the students.
make a list
As life gets busy and stressful, the ability to remember all the things diminishes. That’s why having a written reminder can help you remember all the things. Starting with a daily or weekly to do list is important. Make lists and cross things off as you go. Add things as new tasks come up. By keeping a written list you free up a little mental space.
With a to do list that seems to always be growing, getting in a habit of prioritizing the items on your list is a good habit to make. Realize that not every single thing will get done and the most important and/or time-sensitive tasks come first! By prioritizing the tasks you are also prioritizing your time.
Plan and prep
try a life planner
If you don’t already have a great planner, run to the nearest store and grab one! A good planner is essential for staying on top of life! This is the spot where you can write down everything, from meetings and activities to appointments and plans. You can even put that to do list here to keep it all in once place.
I have always liked a planner that includes home and school in one place. This has helped me schedule and plan and not over-commit.
the important lesson planner
Having a good lesson planner is also essential for a busy teacher. Whether you have written plans or digital plans choose a planning system that works best for you. Start by adding in themes, units or the big picture to your planner. Then add in those amazing lessons and activities that you know you will do. As you get down to your daily lesson plans, incorporate what worked well in the past with new ideas for the future.
Use your resources, plan in advance, and don’t try to reinvent the wheel. If you have great resources at your fingertips and have done things in the past that worked, use those! Have worksheets, lessons, centers all prepped and ready to go for the month or for a particular unit. This takes the guesswork out of what you are going to be doing next and lets you breathe a bit. When things are planned and ready for school, you can go home in the evening and focusing on personal things.
Take time for you
This is a hard one for a lot of busy teachers. We get so busy with the day-to-day of being a great teacher, juggling all the things, and balancing family life. Oftentimes we put ourselves last, and that is when the burnout happens.
I love the saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. This is so true. Make sure that between the lesson plans and busy home life, you are taking a pause to do something special for yourself.
Take that trusty planner and set a time to grab coffee with a friend, set up a date night with your partner, or schedule a pedicure or massage. It can even be as simple as popping some popcorn and turning on Netflix for a night of binge-watching your favorite shows. Don’t lose yourself and forget your hobbies and your passion outside of the classroom. Taking time for yourself will make you a better teacher and keep your stress in check. Take a breather from juggling all the things on your list and make time for YOU!
Show yourself some grace
Although we can juggle many things while being a fantastic teacher, spouse, parent, and friend, nobody is superhuman. Many times there just aren’t enough hours in the day to fit in everything on our to-do list. Remind yourself that this is ok and show yourself some grace. You are doing just fine! When you start feeling inferior, step back, take a break, and regroup. Don’t leave yourself juggling all the things alone.
Also, realize that it is okay to ask for help. Sometimes it is the best thing you can do for yourself. Get your students involved in helping keep your classroom organized and running smoothly. Ask friends and family to pitch in on small tasks that need to be accomplished. This will take a lot off your plate!
Let go of the things that are weighing you down. Especially things that are out of your control! And one of the biggest lessons to learn, it is okay to say no. If there is something that cannot be added to your growing list, say no. Certainly, this can be one of the hardest things to do, but in the end, it will help immensely!
create a balance act
When you are trying to juggle a million things in and out of your classroom it can feel impossible. But you can take some stress off of yourself by taking action and creating balance. These tips and tricks are a great way to do that.
When you are organized and prepared you show up feeling confident. When you take a break and show yourself grace you end up feeling less stressed and ready to conquer anything.
These tips may seem like a no-brainer, but when you utilize them and put it all into action you will see a huge difference. Grab that planner, make that spa appointment, ask for help and start feeling like the rockstar that you are! At the end of the day, we are all trying our best and that is all we can do. With just a few small changes you can have that work life balance you want.
Save these tips for work life balance!
Save these tips for work life balance to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so when you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed you can come back to them later!